25th November 1830.
On Saturday last, Robert Dykes, a labourer, who also kept a public house in the village of Gargunnock, died in consequence of the mortification of a wound on his head, which he had received eight days before in his own house while drinking along with a carter of the name of Peter Ferguson. It is said, that the parties had quarrelled, owing to the deceased having taunted Ferguson with stealing on a former occasion, a pair of stockings from a line which was hanging across the apartment wherein they were then sitting. Ferguson, who is generally considered a peaceable lad, is said to have immediately fired at the imputation cast upon him, and in the impulse of the moment,to have seized a stick which was accidentally lying near the fireplace, and to have struck the deceased a severe blow on the head which subsequently confined him to the house. Dykes had been working for some time before at Leckie House, and was known to Mr. Moir, who had missed him from his work, and on learning what had taken place, caused his head to be examined by a medical gentleman in the neighbourhood. From the alarming appearance of the wound, information of the scuffle was sent to the Sheriff Substitute of Stirlingshire, who along with the Fiscal, and a medical gentleman, went to Gargunnock on Friday, and took a precognition into the circumstances of this case. In the meantime Dykes gradually grew worse until he expired. On Sunday evening the body was examined in the presence of several medical gentlemen, who reported that the deceased had died in consequence of the wound having mortified.
Ferguson has been of course, apprehended and lodged in Stirling Jail; but rumour asserts, that owing to a want of sufficient evidence, there will probably be great difficulty in proving the assault.